Once in a while we realize (think of) goals we wish for. But how to map those things for day to day? How to make sure we don’t forget them? (And avoid getting pulled into the daily to day rat race). How to make sure we keep working on the right things and keep making progress?
Define the main goals
Work it out backwards
To help decide what the goals should be, an idea is to work it out backwards, start with the outcome, think of what life you want, the setup / work / activities that make you the happiest. imagine what the typical day would be and extract from there the goals.
Once set on a goal, re-examine it again. Question the goals thoroughly, to reach a clearer understanding:
- Why spend time on this? Imagine somebody you care about asks why to spend time on this, what would you say?
- What I want to see happening? What i expect the future to be on this ?
A mind map can be usefull to layout things and help think it trought, as well as writing a text on it.
Example Goal: I want to play guitar Why ? :. I enjoy it, as a pause from school / work, this makes me feel good and i really like to make my own songs. Whats the Future ? :. Play in a band, do a live concert, record an original song, record a full album.
Evaluation (the stakes)
Imagine you going to be evaluated at the end of every month (for example). Or even better is to actually find a way to commit to something real that will cause pain when not achieved. If you do your own evaluation, try to be harsh and cruel (excuses wont work).
So define what are you going to be evaluated on?
Sometimes time spent on a project is a good correlation of work done, but not best way.
But define also other concrete goals and accomplishments.
Example: Play Guitar: learn and record a new music every other week. At end of month i need to have four musics that are enjoyable and keep getting better. If that does not happen, then it wont get me any better in my musical career, and i should drop it altogether.
In general the bigger the pressure (the stakes) the more likelly is to make progress.
Track time down
If time spent is a good metric, then need to be able to monitor it.
Define time share
Probably worth knowing if one of them is being under-done and maybe needs a bit attention, and the others should have less attention. Example: haven’t done sport for a month already, next 2 weeks focusing mostly on sport to bring back some balance.
Do frequent reviews (weekly) for example, and plan adjustments. (check out the sprint planning of scrum for ideas on doing this).
Find that constantly looking at the goals, keeps them in mind, and present.
(I keep a todo list, that i review daily, also so to avoid forgetting boring stuff i need to do).
Filter what tasks are important vs not
Learn to filter what tasks are important and what tasks are not. Even if related to the project at hand, not every single task contributes in same amount to the end goal.
Heuristic could be: How much does this contributes to my goals, compared to the other tasks is this the one that contributed the most (prioritize accordingly)
Making results of work visible, might open up new possibilities, eventually more resources.
Precepts (Rules of thumb)
- Block time, Set timeouts
- Quiet time, remove distractions
- Its a balancing act, but avoid jumping frequently between things (no multitasking)
- Allocate a max of time per day/ week for pointless tasks
- Simple planning, half a day for each tasks
- Avoid meetings
- Identifying what is important (and especially what is not) is key !
- Scrum methodology
- Meta learning post: http://al3xandr3.github.io/meta-learning.html
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